Students’ strikes continue in Kolkata

Six students of the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital have been on hunger strike since Tuesday in protest against the college authority’s refusal to provide them accommodation in the new hostel. The students alleged that the main hostel building where the second, third and fourth year MBBS students stay is in “deplorable condition”.

MCI guidelines

However, the college authorities cited guidelines issued by the Medical Council of India which stated that first-year students have to be accommodated in a separate hostel to prevent ragging and hence they were accommodated in the new building. Two more students joined the hunger strike on Saturday.

“The main hostel building – located in the southern side of the campus – where senior students are made to stay is in a deplorable condition. In the last two months the false ceiling in the hostel has collapsed four times and two students were injured,” said Aniket Chatterjee, one of the students who are on hunger strike.

The agitating students further alleged that when they gheraoed Principal Uchhal Bhadra on July 5, he called in police into the campus who assaulted the students and forced them to lift the gherao. One of the students on hunger strike was hospitalised and later his condition deteriorated.

Allegations denied

Denying the allegations, Mr. Bhadra said that the decision to allocate four floors of the new 10-storey building to first-year students was taken as per MCA guidelines. “I am not denying that the condition of the six hostel buildings is not very good. However, the main hostel building for which the agitation started is in the best condition among the old hostel buildings,” he said. Mr. Bhadra also said that he is ready to resolve the accommodation issue within 10 days.

However, the students pointed out that MCI in its regulations has stated that senior students can be accommodated in the same hostel with first-year students if the facility of separate accommodation for the latter is not available.

“Freshers shall be lodged, as far as may be, in a separate hostel block, and where such facility is not available, the institution shall ensure that access of seniors to accommodation allotted to freshers is strictly monitored by wardens, security guards and other staff of the institution,” states an MCI regulation.

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